We at the Affordable Art Fair are so excited to highlight the wonderful work of treat gallery, one of our newest NYC exhibitors!
Thursday 19 August, 2021
Selected as one of our #OnlineSummerExhibition galleries by our CEO and Founder, Will Ramsay, treat gallery works to promote a variety of art and artists and with every project or pop-up show, treat gallery donates 25%-100% of proceeds to a various cause or non-profit.
We chatted with Founder, Sherri Littlefield, about their origins and mission, the different organizations they work with as well as the artists they will be exhibiting at the fall edition of the Affordable Art Fair NYC (September 23 – 26, 2021) in just a few weeks. Read on to find out more!
Tell us a bit about how treat gallery was started and your founding mission.
The concept behind treat gallery is to “treat” people in everything we do and to inspire others to do the same. We make it a priority to work with emerging, differently abled and underrepresented artists and new collectors. We aim to keep the work we show accessible and affordable. By partnering with like-minded professionals and businesses, we believe we can make the art community stronger, more honest and tangible. Since our inception, treat gallery has donated 25-100% of proceeds to a nonprofit or charity with every project.
The idea of treat gallery came to me in late 2015. At that time, I had been in New York City for less than a year and felt a lot of dealers and artists were distrusting of one another. There are good people in this field, and I wanted to highlight the kindness and creativity of the “good ones.” treat gallery’s first exhibition was in March 2016, in my church’s basement, and the open call was for non-professors working in higher education. For many years, I worked as a shop technician for two top art colleges. Shop technicians, admins and coordinators are often artists themselves and are the driving force behind students’ success.
How has the organization evolved?
During the next couple years, treat gallery had pop up exhibitions in spaces around New York City, and our first collaborative project was called the “treat america project.” In 2018, we had one person per state take over an Instagram account dedicated to the treat america project. Each person chose a state affiliated non-profit that sales of their prints would later benefit. After completion of the project, an exhibition was held in 2019 to show the “best” prints, which were selected by curators Jon Feinstein and Jamie Martinez. The project went on to be shown during SXSW at Satellite Art Show. While managing the project was a handful, it was rewarding to get others thinking about how they could use their skills toward positive causes. Later that year, we were invited to exhibit at PULSE Art Fair, where we had another large-scale project that raises funds for the onePULSE Foundation in Orlando, FL.
treat gallery has grown a lot in our short, five year history. During the pandemic, it was crucial that we continued helping others. We partnered with 20 incredible commercial and fine art professionals to offer free portfolio reviews to hundreds of artists, had online features that raised significant funds for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, and offered free professional practice courses. We’ve found that people are kind, and want to help when an opportunity presents itself. We can take curatorial and financial risks because others have trusted our mission, and for that we are forever grateful.
You mention that you are not a non-profit, but rather a contemporary art gallery helping local charities and non-profits – can you expand on your relationship with your partners and how you choose these causes?
Often times, our exhibitions are themed to loosely match the beneficiary of our project. In 2016, we had a food themed exhibition “Tastemakers” that raised funds for No Kid Hungry, and earlier this year, our exhibition “All of The Lights” raised funds for Candlelighters NYC. Sometimes the exhibition theme comes first, other times a nonprofit is suggested first. We take recommendations from our artists and friends – and we work hard to keep things in good taste. We truly work side by side with our partners to ensure no missteps. During PULSE Art Fair, we passed every single promotional material piece through the onePULSE Foundation to ensure we were being respectful and most importantly, honoring the angels through our project. Our favorite partners offer feedback, ideas and opportunities.
The past year has been a time of extreme reckoning, but this spring we were able to return with a boutique edition of the Affordable Art Fair NYC and you were one of our exhibitors! Can you share your experience being back IRL and doing what you do best, helping others in need with the help of art?
treat gallery had an amazing showing at Affordable Art Fair NYC. We sold multiples pieces from each artist we exhibited, and even sold out of some work entirely. For two artists, this was their first time showing at a major art fair. Due to the timed entry, we made some incredible connections and got to really know some of our new clients on a more personal level – something that doesn’t happen when fairs are at capacity. It wasn’t all business. It was a return to normalcy, and a reminder that we’re all human.
Art music and comedy have helped many people cope with the pandemic. May 2021 was my first time seeing many of my colleagues IRL since March 2020. I was thankful that Affordable Art Fair put strict guidelines into attending the fair – I felt safe and valued, as did the attendees.
What groups were you able to donate to because of the NYC Spring 2021 edition?
treat gallery raised funds for three very different, but equally important non-profit organizations that fight hunger in New York City and beyond. No Kid Hungry, City Harvest and City Meals on Wheels. These nonprofits cater from everyone to young children to the homebound elderly. Food is a human right, and no one should go hungry.
We’re very excited that you will be a part of our Fall edition this year as well, can you tell us about the artists you’re bringing to the fair and what organizations you will be partnering with?
I’m excited to return to Affordable Art Fair this fall. I’ll be exhibiting work from Ashok Sinha, Parsley Steinweiss, Matt Mele, Betsy Enzensberger and Bubblegum and Whiskey. We will be donating funds to animal shelters and rehab centers in New York City. Our artist Parsley Steinweiss recommended Greenpoint Cats to us. I have a rescue rabbit, and we regularly donate (and bring injured birds) to Wild Bird Fund. If there’s any nonprofit specialty that exemplifies unconditional kindness and love, it is those of animal shelter workers. It’s their turn to be recognized and celebrated.
Thank you so much to treat gallery for your time! Be sure to check out their online marketplace profile to discover more by their fantastic roster of artists. And, with lots more art to discover from treat gallery IRL be sure to stop by their booth at the Affordable Art Fair NYC Fall Edition – purchase your tickets here!